Leo, the cat, has a very odd relationship with food. Put any range of tasty morsels in front of him and he merely sits there looking vaguely offended. He only eats dry cat pellets and more specifically only one brand and one flavour, namely fish. But he does this with alacrity at least twenty times a day and purring loudly in the process. This, of course, means that the bowl has to be constantly replenished and if I forget to do this Leo will witter and perform, dashing and darting under my feet in a manner guaranteed to cause a frightful accident.

During one of his many visits to his peanut bowl, at two in the morning, I was awakened to the fact that Leo had started talking to his food. “That cat seriously needs counselling”, I remember thinking, but being snugly tucked up in bed, I didn’t investigate. Until night three when I decided to investigate. And what a shock I got! There was Leo sitting in front of his beloved food bowl which had been invaded by giant slugs. These things were so huge I could actually hear them crunching the cat food. And not only were they in his bowl, there was a whole load of them having a party on the work surface. This had to be dealt with. Standing there, I recalled reading that one fool proof way of catching garden snails is to leave out a bowl of beer. The story goes that they find the smell of lager irresistible and climb in, only to drown – very happily. So there I am in the early hours of the morning, in my bare feet, pouring the giant slugs a Bittberger and wondering if they would prefer an Amstel.

We do say that at Primrose Farm the inmates run the asylum but I formally offer Leo an apology. He is not barking mad talking to his food. He was telling these revolting pushy things to sod off out of his beloved bowl. Incidently, the beer malarkey failed miserably so the next night I exacted my revenge and went into the utility room armed with the bag of salt. No more slugs. Odd though, Leo still talks to his food….

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